The Alabama Theatre, Birmingham AL

Monday, July 03, 2006

Av and I were in Birmingham on Sunday so we went to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the older version) at the Alabama Theatre. What's great is that during the summer, the Alabama shows lots of classic movies - like the Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, and many more. There's a calendar of what's playing here.

The inside (it was built in 1927) is just *gorgeous*:

This is Cecil Whitmire, who is the general manager there. He plays the "mighty Wurlitzer" organ that they have - it is on a riser that allows it to come up out of the floor or descend back under the stage once a show starts. Cecil is a *great* organist.

Before the movies, Cecil will play the organ, then everyone in the audience will do a sing-a-long with him on the organ (on Sunday, we sang "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain," "Home on the Range," and a couple of others), then an old Looney Tunes is played on the screen, and finally the movie starts. Anyway, it is just fabulous and so much fun!

This is a very short movie showing the theater while Cecil is playing:

Since this is Independence Day weekend, Cecil played a medly of patriotic songs and we all stood when the curtains drew back and this huge flag was displayed:

Anyway, the movie was just great!

Outside the theater is an Alabama "walk of fame" - here's Tallulah Bankhead's star:

...and George Lindsey:

...and Nell Carter.

I also can't wait until the Riley Center opens in Meridian, in September. It's a renovation of the opera house there, and it's going to be *beautiful*!

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